In the event that you don’t want to hire a professional writer, perhaps you feel as if you possess the necessary skills to create your own blog posts/articles/press releases etc. It is said that ‘anyone can write’ and while there is an element of truth to it, the deluge of poorly written garbage that has polluted the Internet suggests that you do indeed need to have a certain degree of skill. Assuming that you can write well, the next step is to have the desire to continue posting quality content.
You may even believe that you have a novel or two in you but where can you find the time? Most people who claim that they are writers actually do anything apart from it and will come up with increasingly imaginative excuses to avoid putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). In the excellent The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, the author speaks about ‘resistance’ and how it plagues would-be writers. The entire gamut of excuses is run from ‘I’m too busy’ to ‘I need to plan it’. If your goal is to start up a blog, this really isn’t good enough as you need regular content to rank on search engines, establish brand identity and be seen as an industry leader.
As we mentioned above, the excuse of planning is arguably the greatest obstacle to creating a blog post, email, press release or any other form of writing that attempts to promote your company. Prospective writers try to sound authoritative by claiming that they need ‘inspiration’ to proceed. Famous author Somerset Maugham once said that ‘inspiration seemed to occur at around 9 o’ clock every morning when I sat down to write’. In other words, don’t wait to be inspired, sit down and get writing and you’ll be utterly amazed at what you’ll come up with.
It doesn’t even matter if you write utter garbage because (a) that doesn’t stop 99% of posters online it seems and (b) you can always edit. You’ll find that editing a couple of thousand words is much more rewarding that altering a blank page. While writing seems to come easier to some than others (for example, I just about never suffer from writer’s block), it is a fact that nothing will happen until you sit down and start creating.
Make it a Habit
Again, this is not a huge issue for me since I write professionally and if I don’t create, I don’t get paid, I can’t enjoy Chablis and I can’t lose money betting on the Latvian Winter Cup (I’m looking at you Ventspils)! Even if you’re not a professional, you can quickly get into the habit by dedicating 30-60 minutes a few times a week and be sure to write for at least an hour on your days off, if not more.
As this post is mainly for people looking to promote their business via content marketing, I’m assuming that you already know how often you need to post. You could get by with as little as a single post a week as long as that post is detailed and informative. This may even be better than 200-300 word ‘fluff’ posts written each day but for some industries, fashion for example, small daily posts outlining new fashion trends is the way to go. My wife has not really listened to this advice mind you and she insists on writing high quality content once a week for her fashion retail store which is called Abi Lynch Lingerie Store and I am not apologising for the blatant plug!
Ultimately, you may end up being bitten by the writing bug and if that happens, great! However, it will then be necessary to prioritise your writing and focus on one project at a time. Trying to create posts about running shoes while also working on your thriller about a post-apocalyptic wasteland will only confuse the issue. You may even end up writing about how your running shoes help you escape from the New Order’s soldiers while your novel goes into intricate detail about easy-lacing systems.
According to an old New York Times article from 2009, approximately 95% of blogs were ‘derelict’ which means they were set up but now no one writes on them. While these figures may be 5 years old, they are as true today as they were back then as there are ‘ghost blogs’ all over the Internet. Don’t allow yours to suffer this lamentable fate, start writing now and be consistent! In the next post, I will talk about setting yourself a writing challenge that can kick-start your productivity.